Making a departure from his official schedule, President Obama visited Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to pay his respect to the soldiers killed in the helicopter attack in Afghanistan this weekend. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and several other top ranking military officials were on hand as the coffins of the fallen arrived from Afghanistan.
The media was barred from taking pictures of the 30 coffins that arrived at the base today. The men were killed with Taliban insurgents shot down the Chinook aircraft they were aboard. They were part of the Seal Team Six, the special ops unit whose members were responsible for carrying out the raid that led to al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden’s death and capture. Also killed in the attack were seven Afghan commandos and an Afghan translator. The helicopter was on its way to aid NATO forces who were embroiled in battle with insurgents near by.
The attack marks the deadliest single attack in the ten years that U.S. and N.A.T.O forces have occupied Afghanistan.
Though Obama did not speak to the public, he met with the families of the soldiers killed privately and then put out this statement:
“Their loss is a stark reminder of the risks that our men and women in uniform take every single day on behalf of their county. Day after day, night after night, they carry out missions like this in the face of enemy fire and grave danger. And in this mission — as in so many others — they were also joined by Afghan troops, seven of whom lost their lives as well. Now is also a time to reflect on those we lost, and the sacrifices of all who serve, as well as their families,” Obama said Monday. “These men and women put their lives on the line for the values that bind us together as a nation.”